NCF On The Trail: Florida Gators

Florida Gators have talent to compete 

September, 18, 2014
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When Alabama and Florida square off on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS), the two teams will display some of the top talent in the country. In fact, according to the expected two-deep depth charts, Alabama and Florida will showcase 56 players that were ranked in the ESPN 300 (changed from ESPN 150 to ESPN 300 in 2013) and the ESPN JC 300 coming out of high school or junior college.

Georgia has offered boxing great Evander Holyfield’s son a scholarship, and the Dawgs seem ready to deliver the knockout. Plus, Kansas State hosts Auburn in one of the biggest games ever in Manhattan, but there won’t be a lot of recruits in the stands.


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5-star DE Jefferson out for season

September, 17, 2014
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Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson, the No. 7 player in the ESPN 300, will miss the remainder of his senior year after suffering a shoulder injury in a game on Friday night. Jefferson posted the news on his Facebook page and Twitter account and later confirmed the news with ESPN.com.

"I must say, I've had a pretty good career as a Wildcat over the past three years. Unfortunately things happen to the best of us, lol,” his Facebook post read. "But all jokes aside, for those of you who weren't at the game last Friday, I was injured on the fourth play which resulted in my senior season coming to an end a little bit early."



Jefferson continued on Facebook: "I just want to say thank you to the community and wildcat nation for being there for me over my high school tenure, I love y'all. I guess I can get an early start on my coaching career haha, btw all district games, lets encourage our boys to bring it home -- CJ7 wildcat for life.”

The talented athlete has visited Florida for the first three weeks of the year, including this past Saturday after he had already suffered the injury. Jefferson will take an unofficial visit to Florida State this weekend when the Seminoles take on the Hurricanes.

Jefferson is planning to visit UCLA and Alabama but is unsure of the dates for those visits. He is the No. 4 defensive end in the country behind Josh Sweat, Byron Cowart and Terry Beckner Jr.
Numbers tell us it’s USC that rules the roost over the years with the top-ranked prospects in California. Plus, UCLA has officially signed Josh Rosen, the Bruins’ most important recruit in years, to a financial aid agreement.

1. Since ESPN started ranking players in 2006, only four different schools have signed the top player in California. Those four schools are USC, Colorado, Washington and Notre Dame. You could say five if you count Eddie Vanderdoes as a Bruin signee in the 2013 class, but he did ink with Notre Dame on signing day and later transferred to UCLA. During that timeframe, though, USC has signed the top California player in the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014 classes. The Trojans have a good shot at doing it again in 2015 as many insiders believe five-star cornerback Iman Marshall is USC’s to lose.

[+] EnlargeDeon Cain
Tom Hauck for Student SportsClemson commit Deon Cain has 184 yards passing yards and 197 yards rushing in two games.
2. There was never, ever any doubt about how solid No. 1 ranked pocket-passing quarterback Josh Rosen was to UCLA. But Rosen, the No. 19 player in the country, took his commitment to the next level on Monday when he signed a financial aid agreement with the Bruins. Rosen remains the top-ranked prospect to commit to a Pac 12 program, and in my opinion, he is also the most important recruit in the conference with the Bruins’ quarterback race next season expected to be wide open since most UCLA observers believe Brett Hundley will depart for the NFL after his junior season.

3. How good has Clemson commit Deon Cain been in Tampa Bay (Florida) Tech’s first two games of the season? Cain, the nation’s No. 25 player, has been so good that Tech coach Jayson Roberts said he’s going to have to find somebody else to help do something on offense because he’s afraid he’s going to “break Deon’s back” from carrying the load. “Deon has been about 90 percent of our offense,” Roberts said. “The good thing is that he’s doing exactly what we want him to do, but the bad thing is that somebody else on the team is going to have to step up to help him out. But he’s been doing a tremendous job for us.” So far, Cain has 184 yards passing and 197 yards rushing in two games. He’s also caught a few passes and is returning punts and kickoffs. “He’s doing everything but driving the bus for us,” Roberts said.

Social Studies
There’s little doubt as to which school ESPN 300 quarterback Sheriron Jones is committed to. Check out the picture he posted Tuesday on his birthday.



Schools tweet posts like this one sent out by Baylor Tuesday and fans think they’re meant for them. Wrong. Tweets like these are meant to impress recruits and what’s scary is that the Bears have another good receiver in the 2015 class heading to Waco. Don’t forget about ESPN 300 receiver longtime Baylor commit Devontre Stricklin. He’s got the talent to be a huge impact player for the Bears.



The Under Armour All-America jersey tour continued on Tuesday with Auburn offensive line commitment Bailey Sharp receiving his jersey on Tuesday. To read more about the tour check out RecruitingNation’s coverage.


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ESPN 300 OL Matt Burrell names a leader 

September, 15, 2014
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ESPN 300 offensive lineman Matt Burrell Jr. has already taken an official visit to Ohio State, and that trip has resonated with the No. 61 ranked prospect. He still has four more official visits to take, but Burrell says he has his list in order as it stands.


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Best of the visits: SEC

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
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There were some great games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended games and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts:

The No. 2-ranked inside linebacker in the country, Roquan Smith, visited South Carolina for its 38-35 victory over Georgia. The Under Armour All-American tweeted out a picture of his family in Williams-Brice Stadium. Georgia is one of Smith’s favorite schools, while South Carolina has fallen behind. A big win against the Bulldogs could have given the Gamecocks a boost.



Former Florida defensive back commit Marcus Lewis is still considering Kentucky and Florida. The four-star prospect might not have attended the game, but Lewis was definitely watching on TV. The ESPN 300 prospect tweeted out his thoughts on how Kentucky looked.



David Womack tweeted a picture of his son, Matt Womack, an LSU commit, with Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Womack has been committed to LSU since July, but it appears the Alabama offer could give this three-star offensive lineman something to think about.



Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson, despite suffering a shoulder injury Friday night, visited Florida for the third consecutive week. In this photo he tweeted out, Jefferson is in the Florida locker room holding a “Chucky” doll. The doll, which is usually taken through the Gator Walk prior to the game, is a recent Florida defensive tradition started by New England Patriots defensive tackle and former Florida player Dominique Easley and passed down to defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.



ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Brandon McIlwain poses with his mom for a photo in front of Williams-Brice Stadium. McIlwain has narrowed down his choices to South Carolina, Duke, Florida, Auburn, Penn State and Virginia Tech. The strong-armed quarterback is one of the top signal-callers in the country for 2016.



Miami running back commit Dexter Williams visited Florida for its thrilling 36-30 victory over Kentucky. Despite his commitment to the Hurricanes, the Gators have continued to pursue Williams. Williams tweeted about his time in Gainesville.



2017 OL prospect Jack Anderson, who already holds offers from Arizona State, New Mexico, Texas Tech and UAB, visited Texas A&M for its 38-10 victory over Rice on Saturday night.

SEC's top recruiting visits 

September, 12, 2014
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There are much better games on tap this weekend in the SEC than last. Without question the top game this weekend happens on Saturday when the Georgia Bulldogs head to Columbia, South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks. There will be many recruits taking unofficial visits and even a few taking a few official visits. Here is a closer look at some top expected visitors.

Georgia at South Carolina

With 27 verbal commits South Carolina is pretty much full for its 2015 class except for maybe a few remaining spots. One big unofficial visitor this weekend will be Roquan Smith, the No. 2-ranked outside linebacker in the ESPN 300. Georgia is one of his top teams, so he could just be going to see the Bulldogs, but any chance a school gets to have a top recruit on campus, there is always a possibility he could be impressed by what he sees. With their 2015 class almost full, South Carolina will turn to their 2016 class. Three junior prospects, all ranked in the top 50 of the ESPN Junior 300, are expected to be in attendance. The trio consists of quarterback Brandon McIlwain, tight end Isaac Nauta and athlete Mecole Hardman.


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Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has put together a top 15 recruiting class that should only get better as we head toward signing day, and Rutgers has a real chance to slow down Penn State’s recruiting momentum in New Jersey this weekend.


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No. 2 OLB Smith has three visits in mind 

September, 10, 2014
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MONTEZUMA, Ga -- The No. 26 player in the ESPN 300, Roquan Smith, has started to narrow down his college choices. The 6-foot-1, 206-pound athlete admits this list is not final but Georgia, Florida, UCLA, Miami, LSU, USC and Ole Miss are starting to stand out to him.

The product of Macon County High School discussed some of his favorite schools prior to be presented his Under Armour All-America jersey on Wednesday afternoon.

[+] EnlargeRoquan Smith
Tom Hauck for Student SportsRoquan Smith said he's still considering a number of schools and said he will not be making a decision until signing day.
“Those schools -- they have been showing me love since Day 1,” Smith said. "UCLA and Ole Miss were my first two offers so they have been after me since my 10th grade year. It’s big on their behalf. Georgia is the in-state school and they are recruiting me the hardest out of all the schools. Florida has a good thing going on down there. They are starting the program back up the right way. Coach [Will] Muschamp, I know he’s a defensive head coach and they are looking for some ballers on defense.”

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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
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Despite the weak slate of SEC football games over the weekend there was still a lot of news in the world of recruiting. From commitments, to big offers, to decision dates to sick one-handed interceptions, this weekend was full of news. Here’s a closer look at the latest happening from around the SEC.


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Best of the visits: SEC

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
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The slate of games in the Southeastern Conference weren’t overly impressive this weekend, but there were several prospects who did take unofficial visits. From five-star defensive ends Byron Cowart and CeCe Jefferson making a return trip to Florida to watch the Gators dismantle Eastern Michigan 65-0 to new Kentucky commit Jeremiah Dinson witnessing the Wildcats beat Ohio 20-7 — several recruits used social media to show highlights from their trip. Here’s a closer look at some of the top social media posts from recruits around the SEC this weekend.

Dinson, a 6-foot, 180-pounds cornerback from Miami (Fla.) American announced he was committing to Kentucky during an unofficial visit to Lexington. Dinson also had offers from Arkansas, Connecticut, NC State and several others.
Tennessee picked up a big commitment from ESPN Junior 300 defensive back Marquill Osborne. The product of Hough High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the 130th-ranked player in the class of 2016 and committed to the Vols during an unofficial visit to Knoxville. Arguably the top sophomore in the country, Dylan Moses, visited LSU on Saturday and his father, Edward Moses, tweeted a picture of his son and current LSU running back Leonard Fournette who scored his first collegiate touchdown on Saturday night. Moses, a Baton Rouge native, is already committed to the Tigers. Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson visited Florida for the second consecutive week and took a selfie in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. Jefferson won't announce his decision until signing day but the Gators appear to be one of his favorites. Another ESPN 300 prospect, Ryan Davis, also visited Florida on Saturday. Davis was impressed by Florida's offense, including freshmen Treo Harris who threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns on only two completions.

CommitCast: George Campbell (Noon ET)

September, 5, 2014
Sep 5
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No. 1 athlete George Campbell is set to choose between Florida, Florida State and LSU. Join us at noon ET to see which school he picks.

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: George Campbell is one of the most highly sought after players in the country, but the five-star athlete will announce his decision Friday on ESPN.com’s RecruitingNation. Plus, we now know when No. 5 cornerback Tarvarus McFadden will announce his decision, and the battle to land him involves five of the best recruiters in the country. We also continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: A lot of eyebrows were raised when class of 2017 quarterback Tate Martell committed to Washington, but he proved this past Friday night he’s the real deal. Plus, Oklahoma won’t only be hosting Tennessee next weekend, but the Sooners are also expected to bring in more than 13 impact recruits on official visits. We also continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.

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#SceneAndHeard Lunch Break: Sept. 3 

September, 3, 2014
Sep 3
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ESPN 300 Hines to cut list today

ESPN 300 No. 149 Nyheim Hines will announce his Top 7 at 7 ET tonight. While he's not technically cutting schools from consideration, programs that don't make the Top 7 are essentially out of contention at this point. Among those that are near locks to make the seven are NC State and Duke with North Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio State also good bets. Also in serious contention are Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Virginia Tech and Virginia. The major factor in the speedster's recruitment is his twin sister, Nyah. Nyah has been offered by NC State as a hurdler. Duke was considered the favorite last spring, but things are certainly pointing to the Wolfpack as the current team to beat with the track offer resting with Nyah.


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